"To seek out that which was lost..."

We present the following article as a Service to our readers... Its inclusion should not be construed as the Authors' or the Relays' endorsement of Our Beliefs.



A Guiding Light on Internet Issues
Newsletter of the Internet Users Consortium

NorthStar is a guiding light to help you focus on the issues which threaten our Internet Freedom. We sincerely invite your participation at any level, from discussion to action. Rethink what Activism means - Isn't it just participation?

NorthStar #17    Sunday 5/12/96

Update: Internet Users Consortium
Update: Internet Users Consortium VISIT the NEW Internet Users Consortium mirror site: http://www.nilenet.com/~peads

Thanks to your growing support, the number of people accessing the IUC website increased our servers to the stretching point. So, we've set up a mirror site on another server. This new site specializes in our ever-growing IUC position, proposals and objectives. Visit the site and ensure that it represents you-the Internet User! Show your dedicated support to the Future Freedom of the Internet. If you have any points of contention, additional ideas to establish the position of Internet Freedom, ideas for improving the website or just want to give us continued support, please drop by.

NEVER SAY NEVER . . . but . . .
We at NorthStar believe so strongly in these principles that we make
the following pledge to you, our reader and fellow Internet Activist:
NorthStar will NEVER sell/rent/trade/share our mailing list
NorthStar will NEVER use Government mandated encryption
NorthStar will NEVER represent any commercial interest
NorthStar will NEVER cooperate with any Government intrusion

Fear and Loathing on the Info Snooper Highway
[Part Two]

Cyberspace. Cyberporn. Cybersex. Every time you turn on the tube or open the fishwrap, it's Cyberthis or Cyberthat. Cyber is suddenly America's favorite prefix. You use the word yourself, probably without thinking about what you're really saying.

Cyber means Control. It comes from the ancient Greek word, kyber, meaning Helmsman or Navigator - i.e., the one who is in control. It's not accidental that Netscape calls its famous Web browser, Navigator. So just who is in control in Cyberspace?

That's Today's Big Question, Who is in control in Cyberspace? The Answer, used to be that We, the Internet Users, were in control in Cyberspace. This was one of Internet's charms - one of the irrestible attractions of Cyberspace - a place where We the People [catchy sound bite, huh?] were actually in control. [For a Change.]

Cyberspace was A Dream Come True - A NeverNever Land where school's always out - no parents, no teachers, no cops, no rules except the ones we made up ourselves. A Legitimate Power to the People! Could this be the dread Anarchy our Govt warned us about? If so, it really doesnt seem so bad. In fact, were evolving responsibility and discipline in forming a new set of guidelines. OUR GUIDELINES!

In fact, most Internet users said, If this is Anarchy, gimme more of it! Most Internet users loved the fact that in this new medium each person is free to say whatever they want to say, and each person is free to listen, to reply, or to hit the Delete key. No problem. If you dont like it - you always have the power to ignore it.

There we were. Exercising the hell out of our First Amendment Rights. Doing Freedom of the Press. Everyone. All at the same time! The undisputable self-actualization of the First Amendment.

In the new medium of Internet, we were no longer bound by Leibling's sardonic Dictum, Freedom of the Press belongs to those who happen to own one. In Cyberspace we all own one! We took the centuries-old One-to-Many information distribution scheme and not only turned it on its head, but benefited greatly in the process. In Cyberspace it's Many-to-Many, a Virtual Marketplace of Ideas. We the People control the content. We are inundated with ideas and thoughts and to ANY governments dislike, we are forced to form our OWN opinions on the materials that we read.

People loved this Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press and the General Freedom from Bureaucratic BS. In Cyberspace we enjoyed a world free of the Acronym Soup of Govt Control [IRS/CIA/NSA/FBI/DOJ/etc/etc/etc]. We were in Control. This is anathema to our Government, and has caused many to attempt to redefine democracy as we know it.

Control is heady stuff. Internet grew exponentially from protocol to protocol, node to node and user to user. We're talking about a Grass Roots Movement with a growth rate that more than doubles every year. More and more citizens want to try out this Internet thing. Freedom spells growth.

Our Political Elite were caught napping on this one. Sorry, bud, on the Net it's Snooze and you lose! The Genie was already out of the bottle and granting wishes right and left. Most people were asking for things like Freedom and Privacy and Control. By the time our Govt tuned in, Cyberspace was completely Out of Control [meaning out of their control].

{{{ Apparently our Constitutional Rights are OK, so long as we dont really use them }}}

***Fear and Loathing on the Info Snooper Highway [Part Two]***
Freedom of Expression Resources
Anti-Censorship Resources
Jims Bit
LawLinks Forum
Civil Rights

In order to deal with this Out of Control situation, which includes the Wholesale exercise of Constitutional Rights, Our Govt initiated an Emergency Damage Control Project. The main thrust of which was to frighten the vast majority of Americans who still have not tasted the sweet intoxicants of Freedom and Privacy and Control which are freely available on Internet.

So what do we get from the old One-to-Many Media? We get horror stories of The Four Horsemen of the Internet: Pornographers, Terrorists, Pedophiles and Drug Dealers. Slime [tm] dedicates an issue to CYBERPORN, based on a study?? so methodologically flawed that it wouldn't be accepted as an undergraduate research paper. It was good enough for Sen. Grassley, however, who waved his copy of Slime [tm] at the other Senators as he bullied them into voting for the Communications Decency Act.

The Oklahoma City bombing was seized upon by the Govt as a golden opportunity to pass Anti-Terrorist legislation, based upon an absurd premise that Terrorists MIGHT use Internet. Sen. Feinstein was aghast at the fact that bomb making information was available on Internet. The fact that the exact same bomb making info was available in a US Forestry Service bulletin and in the Encyclopedia Brittanica was somehow irrelevant.

{{{ The sad thing about such legislation is that it Does Not make us more safe, it makes us less free }}}

The Question is still: Who is in Control in Cyberspace? The Answer is that WE, the Internet users - Were in Control, but that our Govt has decided to take Control in Cyberspace. Our Govt has determined that the free exercise of Constitutional Freedoms in Cyberspace may be hazardous to your political health.

The takehome lesson is this: If We, the Internet users, do not resist our Government's campaign to eliminate our Constitutional Freedoms in Cyberspace, we will surely lose them. And if we lose them, we will never get them back again.

The Bill of Rights wouldn't have a snowball's chance in hell if it were introduced as a bill into the United States Senate in 1996. No way, Jose! Too Dangerous!

Think about that one.

Send us your thoughts.

***Fear and Loathing on the Info Snooper Highway [Part Two]***
Censorship in Cyberspace
Student Access to the Internet in Danger!
24 Hours of Democracy
Positive Aspects of the Internet on Society
Internet Users Consortium Archives
*** PLEASE send us any other relevant URLs you may find ***

NorthStar is an Internet Newsletter provided by the Internet Users Consortium,
a fiercely independent Grass Roots organization founded by Martin Thompson and Kenneth Koldys, Jr, to inform and coordinate Internet Users concerning political and government actions against the complete self-actualization of the Internet and our Constitutional Rights in Cyberspace.

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Rethink what activism means - Isnt it just participation?


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